Copyright © Media Law International 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
With changes to EU law, Austria adapts its legal framework to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force in May.
The first draft of Austria’s Data Protection Act was published in May 2017 and includes fines of up to EUR 50,000 for violation of the Austrian-specific provisions. Authorities can also impose fines directly against legal entities.
Lawyers say data privacy has been a significant area of focus over the past year and will continue to be throughout 2018. Michael Borsky, Ruggenthaler, Rest & Borsky, explained: “Media companies have a lot of personal data stored from visitors to their website. Subscriber data that has been collected for decades and never erased will now have to be dealt with.”
Highlighting legal market trends, lawyers note an increase in the number of copyright-related cases, particularly those concerning the film industry.
Other notable developments include the extension of advertising tax to the online market as part of the country’s new policy agenda for 2017/2018.
The government also aims to close loopholes that allow “aggressive tax planning” and corporate tax avoidance across media.
In transactional activity, Liberty Global announced plans in December 2017 to sell its Austrian operations, UPC Austria, to T-Mobile Austria for EUR 1.9 billion. The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.
Commenting on the deal, Mike Fries, Liberty Global Chief Executive, said: “This transaction highlights the strategic and financial value of our fiber-rich networks in a rapidly converging world and the significant synergies inherent in fixed-mobile mergers.”
He continued: “We have operated in Austria for over 20 years and are extremely proud of the market-leading position we’ve built in both digital video and super-fast broadband.”
has an outstanding reputation for media and entertainment. The firm’s media lawyers are described by clients as “strategic and pro-active” with leading expertise in print and broadcasting law. The firm also represents clients in film, music and digital media sectors. Co-founders Thomas Höhne and Thomas In der Maur manage the practice, which is also appointed by high profile individuals in cases of privacy violation.
Korn Rechtsanwälte is widely recognised in the Austrian legal market for its dominance and media focus. With three decades of sector commitment, the practice is notably appointed by clients from the traditional media sector, including publishers and broadcasters. The team also advises clients from the online and sports segments. Founding partner Gottfried Korn leads the practice that also advises on internet, copyright and competition law.
Ruggenthaler, Rest & Borsky has established a strong position in legal market and is popular among media clients. One client noted, “Margot Rest and Michael Borsky are both highly skilled and experienced media lawyers. Both of them are also very good communicators that have profound knowledge of the media market.” The firm represents Austrian newspaper KURIER and has advised Mediaprint on multiple cases connected with media law and competition.
The team at DORDA is praised by clients for its pre-publication advice, speed and efficiency. Lawyers are also noted for having a high level of technical skill. Newspaper publishers say they appoint the firm as it provides “the highest level of expertise in media law.” Under the leadership of Axel Anderl, the team advised TV2 Group on the transfer of its entity that operates television channel TV2 to a jurisdiction outside of its base in Hungary. The firm also acted for Styria Media Group on digital media and IP matters.
Maria Windhager has high visibility and handles cases diligently, say competitors. The firm’s core service areas are media law and privacy rights law. The team acts for clients from the radio, television, press and social media segments. Founding partner Maria Windhager is praised by peers who say “Maria is often quoted when an expert is needed in media law.”
Noll, Keider specialises in media law and copyright. Highly recommended by peers nationally, the firm is praised for the extensive knowledge of its lawyers. Co-founding partner Alfred J. Noll is described by competitors as “one of Austria’s leading lawyers in media law.” The practice is among the country’s most prominent, highlighted for its industry dedication. Klaus Keider is also singled out for his in-depth knowledge of media law and competition law.
Fiebinger Polak Leon’s media work is driven by its intellectual property specialisation. The department is led by Karina Hellbert whose focus includes litigation, data protection and licensing. In highlighted work, the team represented a client from the sports sector in litigation on publicity and privacy rights.
Kunz Schima Wallentin’s primary areas of practice are film law, sports law and copyright. Thomas Wallentin leads the team in its advice on financing, production and exploitation of motion pictures. The practice works with international sports organisations and athletes. Lawyers also advise broadcasting companies, television producers, musicians, advertising and new media agencies on all matters related to copyright issues.
Broadcast law expert Ploil Krepp & Partner has a distinctive practice focussed on radio and television regulation and licensing. Clients include local and international broadcasters. The team handles cases that include representation in regulation and licensing proceedings, cooperation contracts and cable and satellite infrastructure agreements.
Zöchbauer & Partner is well regarded for with media sector work and advice on privacy protection. Co-founder Peter Zöchbauer is respected among peers and described as a leading industry practitioner. The firm is noted for its market visibility and active involvement in local media cases.
Focussing on licensing and regulatory matters, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz advises commercial broadcasters, film makers and clients from the sports industry. Practice leaders Egon Engin-Deniz and Johannes Juranek have broad experience advising on copyright, including conditional access law, distribution, unfair competition and publishing law.
Graf & Pitkowitz is known nationally for its IP specialisation. The team is co-led by Ferdinand Graf who litigates in cases before the Austrian Surpreme Court. Lawyers handle a broad range of cases and are widely respected for their in-depth knowledge of copyright law.
Eisenberger & Herzog combines competition law, intellectual property and IT. The practice group is co-led by Wilhelm Offenbeck who is based at the firm’s Graz office. The team works on significant cases advising public and private clients. Andreas Zellhofer jointly manages the department and specialises in antitrust and competition law.
Hasch & Partner has a reputation for intellectual property defence that makes it a popular choice for copyright protection in cases in and out of court. Bernhard Steindl is among the firm’s key practitioners for intellectual property law, competition law and local and international commercial law.
Petsch Frosch Klein Arturo lawyers have long-standing experience advising on multiple aspects of intellectual property law. Founded in 1956, the firm has an established position working with local and international clients on copyright protection, competition law and litigation. The firm also has an office in Milan with Austrian practitioners working with the firm’s international network of lawyers.
Ruggenthaler, Rest & Borsky
Gheneff Rami Sommer
Lansky, Ganzger + Partner
Fiebinger Polak & Partner
Kunz Schima Wallentin
Ploil Krepp & Partner
Zöchbauer & Partner
Andréewitch & Partner
CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
Graf & Pitkowitz
Eisenberger & Herzog
Hasch & Partner
Petsch Frosch Klein Arturo
RANKING AND EDITORIALS